Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Green Point Bearings by Kathryn Fry

Though the poems in Green Point Bearings are grounded in the natural world and are rooted  in place, particularly Lake Macquarie, the Hunter and Northern Sydney, there is also something a bit magical in these poems.  There is a mystery in this natural world that is inexplicable, arising from the spaces in which the poems are contained, in the rock, the trees, the flowers and shrubs that are everywhere and still precious, always in motion and changing: “Everything here speaks of infinity”.

A review of A Way Out by Michelle Balge

It follows that A Way Out does not hesitate to divulge its author’s most intimate secrets in her long battle with depression and social anxiety. Such honesty and candour lays bare an individual life in ways that illuminate our own experiences of mental illness: in speaking of herself, she speaks of us all.

A review of The Hanging by Paddy Bostock

The Hanging is a thrilling read. It is enchanting, very well written and has a storyline that would for sure keep you hooked till the very end. It is a perfect blend of magic, paranormal, thriller and suspense; you really couldn’t ask for more. If you enjoy reading a thriller with a dash of magic and paranormal then this is exactly the kind of book you need.

A review of the Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

There is a kind of magic that is woven through the book, primarily from the language of flowers that works in conjunction with the semantical story but has its own silent meaning.  Flannel flowers mean “what is lost is found”, Sturt’s Desert Peas, which are integral to the plot, mean “Have courage, take heart”, and Foxtails mean “Blood of my blood”.  These flowers become Alice’s language when words fail her.

A review of Rome’s Sacred Flame by Robert Fabbri

Throughout the reading my mind often reflected back to Colleen McCullough’s collection. She remodelled Gaius Julius Caesar to her own interpretation and I sensed the same thing happening with Robert Fabbri’s Titus Flavivus Vespasianus. In this book he wastes little time in dispatching friend or foe (including his brutalised wife) into the next world with his trusty gladius. I can understand why this is a bestselling series with an ever-growing audience.

A review of Xaghra’s Revenge by Geoff Nelder

Geoff Nelder is one of those writers who seems to be able to work across multiple genres seamlessly. There’s always an element of action, a hint of steamy romance, and his trademark twist. In his latest novel, Xaghra’s Revenge, the twist is a mixture of history, science, horror and fantasy. The research that underlies this novel is obviously impeccable. The narrative is built on the true story of Turkish pirate Rais Dragut, a brutal and deranged man who, in 1551, captured the entire population of Gozo, one of the Maltese islands, and sold whoever survived the terrible journey into slavery in Northern Africa.

A review of Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

M. Jonathan Lee mesmerizingly develops each story with baby steps that allow the release of tension, which is not necessarily predicated on a joyous turn of events. Sometimes tragedy must happen for this change of perspective, of new awareness and conscience. Mother Nature carries us along in its snowy arms, but it’s human love, wrapping around our fingers, that happily delivers us.

A review of Thrive Through Yoga by Nicola Jane Hobbs

There are plenty of yoga guides out there, and a very confusing set of different yoga styles and philosophies, but Nicola Jane Hobbs’ presents a particularly compelling approach that transcends style and focuses on practical application.  For one thing, she’s seriously charismatic, demonstrating each pose with grace and clarity, and very openly using her own personal story of anorexia, OCD, depression and anxiety in order to provide real empathy and connection. For another, she’s not just another charismatic young ‘influencer’.  Hobbs has serious qualifications in Yoga, Psychology, and Nutrition, and has clocked up many hours of experience which are put to good use in this very readable book. 

A review of Fig Tree in Winter by Anne Graue

While familiarity with and reverence for Plath’s work enhances the poems of Fig Tree in Winter, this collection is strong enough to stand on its own. Each poem is accessible and beautiful. The words and ideas are clear. The themes are relatable, and the thoughts which get explored are deep. Graue’s collection truly compliments Plath’s legacy.

A review of Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright

The observations are visceral, coming from within a strong sense of the body.  Thinness and its relationship to illness is a continual theme, though very different to the analytical approach of Small Acts of Disappearance.  In Domestic Interior the perceptions are simultaneously more delicate and more intense, drawing the reader directly into the deepest heart of pain. The body and its relationship to food informs nearly every perception.